Unions to stage national protest on 28 October

19th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2005, BRUSSELS — Unions ACV and ABVV agreed on Tuesday night to stage a large national and inter-professional demonstration in Brussels on 28 October, supported by a 24-hour strike.

19 October 2005

BRUSSELS — Unions ACV and ABVV agreed on Tuesday night to stage a large national and inter-professional demonstration in Brussels on 28 October, supported by a 24-hour strike.

The Christian and Socialist unions finally started talking the same language as they re-invoked union solidarity after the ACV refused to support the ABVV-led national strike on 7 October.

ABVV chief Xavier Verboven said both unions had agreed what sort of action needed to be taken to force the government to back down on its plans to restrict early retirement.

Earlier on Tuesday, unions rejected the federal government's 'generation pact' which will reform the Belgian social security and pensions system.

The plan will lift the minimum early retirement age from 58 to 60 and aims to boost youth employment and older worker retention rates.

Primarily angered over the early retirement plans, unions agreed to stage a large-scale demonstration in Brussels at 11.30am on 28 October.

In a bid to get as many people to participate in the protest, a 24-hour strike will be held, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Wednesday.

ACV chief Luc Cortebeeck stressed that it was not a general strike, but an action designed to let people participate in the protest. It is not intended, for example, to set up blockades of supermarkets with strikers' posts.

Verboven said the protest was a "strong signal" and that the impact of the action will be tangible. Given the success of the national strike on 7 October, he expects a large number of people to demonstrate on 28 October.

Both the ACV and ABVV have drawn up a joint list of demands which primarily focus on early retirement, company restructuring and 'Canada Dry' arrangements (older unemployment benefit plus a top-up from the employer).

Meanwhile, Liberal union ACLVB also rejected the government's generation pact on Tuesday and will be invited to participate in the industrial action and demonstration.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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